Ferrari, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2020

The ‘Ferrari first’ obstacle to F1’s urgent drive to slash costs

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In any given Formula 1 political struggle one the party at the centre of the skirmish is almost certain to be Ferrari.

It was ever thus. From the very first world championship Formula 1 grand prix race in Silverstone in 1950 – which Ferrari did not enter after a dispute with the organisers over money (!) – to the most recent race, in Abu Dhabi last year, where the team was fined over a controversial fuel weight irregularity.

Even at Melbourne’s non-event last month questions over Ferrari’s power unit remained uppermost in the minds of many, until global events derailed what should have been the first race of the year. Since then battle continues to rage over cost reduction measures needed to sustain the smaller teams through F1’s enforced lockdown.

For better or for worse, Ferrari is at the heart of F1. It could be argued that Ferrari has been in F1 for 70 years (of its 90 in motorsport) simply because it won most of its many battles and that others dropped out due to lengthy losing streaks on- and off-track. But that tells only part of the story: Ferrari survived where the likes of Cooper, Brabham and Lotus folded, and well-funded corporates such as Toyota fled without winning a single race.

To place Ferrari’s competition record in perspective, consider: To date the team has won a record-setting 238 grands prix, scored 770 podiums (including wins) from 991 starts, and claimed 16 constructors’ championships.

Mattia Binotto, Albert Park, 2020
Ferrari is resisting calls for a much lower budget cap
Equally remarkable is that Ferrari’s closest challenger in F1’s longevity stakes, namely McLaren, is a whole 16 seasons younger. Next up is Williams of today, born in 1977 although the team has a number of predecessors. The rest are under 30, with some being relative teenagers (and occasionally acting like it, too).

Yet the most recent championship win for a Ferrari driver came in 2007 – one year before McLaren’s (when Ferrari took its last constructors’ title). Since the new millennium, Mercedes has powered cars to eight championships whereas prancing horse-power scored just six titles in the same period. Nonetheless, Ferrari holds sway on the fiscal front – annually pulling more in bonuses than any other team despite this record.

The team also enjoys veto rights over F1’s regulations, a situation slated to continue after current contracts (are set to) expire at the end of 2020, unless the current situation delays the renewal process. Ferrari also holds a seat by right on the FIA World Motor Sport Council, albeit only when F1 matters are discussed. Thus, it could be claimed that Ferrari wields more power over F1 than do either the governing body or commercial rights holder Liberty.

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Ferrari, now 90 years old, has a legendary seven-decade F1 pedigree, serial on-track accomplishments, considerable experience and unequalled regulatory powers on its side. However its trump card remains a Machiavellian ruthlessness with which it has (mostly) played F1’s political battles to perfection. That, simply put, is why it has survived this long in an activity where the mortality rate among teams is around 90%.

Mattia Binotto, Chase Carey, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Liberty is failing F1 by letting Ferrari keep its veto
Whenever crucial issues are pushed to the brink, Ferrari threatens to either trigger its veto or exit the sport. These threats may then be delivered directly, tacitly, via covert media briefings or simply remain in the background, but they are omnipresent, and in 70 years they have served Ferrari well as its preferred means of firing a shot across the sport’s bows. The harder the fight, the tougher these threats.

Indeed, the veto was originally awarded after just one threat in the early eighties, as covered here previously.

The lengths Ferrari has gone to deliver such ultimatums extend from missing races (in the years before contracts required teams to participate in all rounds) through entering non-scarlet cars via proxy teams (ditto) to building and parading a complete bespoke IndyCar project, bristling with innovations, which it had no intention of racing. That Type 637 now resides in the Maranello museum, a monument to how strong a hand Ferrari can play.

However, the mere fact that Ferrari has not yet walked despite many such threats over ages is down to a single factor: Formula 1 is too important to Ferrari as a marketing and image tool. Its pedigree is what sets it apart from the likes of Lamborghini (which shares parts with sister Volkswagen Group brands where feasible), Porsche (ditto) and from minor upstarts such as Koenigsegg and Pagani.

Moreover, for Ferrari, F1 represents arguably the most cost-effective marketing platform that any hotshot marketeer could conceive for any product occupying any niche on earth: The brand actually gets (exceedingly well) paid to parade itself as a luxury goods (not motor vehicle) manufacturer on a globally televised stage!

Ferrari’s latest sustainability reports states “Formula 1 racing allows us to promote and market our brand and technology to a global audience without resorting to traditional advertising activities, therefore preserving the aura of exclusivity around our brand and limiting the marketing costs that we, as a company operating in the luxury industry, would otherwise incur.”

The prancing stallion was recently voted the world’s most powerful brand with a value of almost $10bn by Brand Finance. It is rated ‘AAA+’ by the same organisation alongside brands such as Rolex, Disney, Coca-Cola, and – wait for it – Red Bull. The latter has also achieved that status via its F1 campaign, defeating Ferrari for four straight years in 2010-13.

That said, Red Bull is active outside of motorsport, and could continue to build its brand away from F1. Ferrari is not, and is therefore wholly dependent upon strutting its stuff on television every fortnight during the season. Take away F1, and Ferrari will eventually be reduced to paying for image with resultant impact on the bottom line through a double whammy effect: Loss of F1 association and marketing costs.

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Ferrari carefully plays a waiting list game in each of the 60 markets it is active in. Its 160 dealers restrict sales to 10,000 units globally per year (although there are plans to increase this to 1,000 per year), resulting in average waiting lists of up to two years (even to priority customers), and double that for specific models. Clients feel privileged for being permitted to buy a Maranello product.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Ferrari is weathering the financial storm better than most
So successfully has Ferrari played this game that its share price moved much less compared to related markets as the pandemic hit: In mid-February, Ferrari’s RACE share traded a sliver under $180; last week it closed at $160 per share (down 11%). Contrast this with F1’s FWONK on equivalent dates: $46 versus $25 (down 45%) or Mercedes (DAI.DE) at $43 versus $29 (down 32%). In the same period McLaren raised $300 million from shareholders.

A recent industry survey by Fiat Group World, an unofficial site specialising in insider information on the Italian motor industry, found that Ferrari nets as much profit from a single car as does BMW, the next most profitable company, from 30. In a year Ferrari effectively earns as much from its total sales as does the Bavarian company, also a luxury brand, from 300,000, or one-sixth of its annual production.

Yet Ferrari employs 4,300 heads (during normal times) – of which around 1,200 are estimated to be employed by Gestione Sportiva, the F1 department. BMW boasts a payroll of 134,000, per their figures.

Ferrari’s latest financial figures show profits before taxes of €875m ($950m) off a 2019 turnover of €3.7bn (a rise of 10% over 2018). That equates to around double its annual F1 budget, which in any event washes its own face via sponsorship, performance revenues and those exorbitant $100m bonuses as outlined.

However, Ferrari’s participation in F1 is not only marketing-led. Its financial report stated: “Participation in the Formula 1 world championship with Scuderia Ferrari is an important source of technological innovation, which is then transferred or adapted into our road cars.”

“In particular the group incurs significant research and development costs through the Formula 1 racing activities,” it continued. “These costs are considered fundamental to the development of the sports and street car models and prototypes. The model for the Formula 1 racing activities continually evolves and as such these costs are expensed [sic] as incurred.”

All this has engendered a ‘Ferrari First’ attitude – even if on-track results do not always deliver on that ideal. Thus, in any argument, the company has invariably put its own interests ahead of those of the sport, even if it has shrewdly positioned itself as being the generous party. For that it cannot be blamed, either: as a listed company its first responsibility is to its shareholders, then to its employees, then outside factors.

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This means it is fundamentally intransigent during F1’s current crisis talks, primarily as it can afford to be and thus sees no reason to drop well below the budget cap figure that was agreed before the pathogen so severely hit the world and the sport. Effectively, even if half its customers cancelled orders, production schedules would still be overloaded for the next year and a bit; other brands would close their doors.

Giuseppe Farina, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 1950
A money row kept Ferrari from the first championship race
Clearly, Ferrari is inextricably intertwined with F1, relying on the sport as much for a transferable technical innovation as it does for a free marketing platform – provided its results are such that it is not embarrassed by a score of nimbler independents, all of whom survive by taking on the red giant. F1 would soon lose its appeal to Ferrari were the team to drop down the order, as could well be the case with a level playing field.

Hence it is arguing vociferously against major reductions to a spending cap of $175m (with exclusions which potentially permit spending to $250m) which is due to be introduced in 2021. This is a 30% reduction on its current budget, and reducing the base cap to $125m (or less) as independent teams are calling for in these times of crisis would reduce that to 50% – with commensurate headcount reductions.

Ferrari argues that its commercial model cannot be compared to those of other teams – which is true, but the company evolved its own modus operandi on commercial and technical grounds – and that it is more difficult to retrench staff in Italy than in the rest of Europe (or the world) were a lower cap to be enforced. True again, but one cannot expect a global sport to bend to the will of individual business models.

There is, of course, another flaw in this logic: were Ferrari to exit F1 as it so oft threatened, what would be the fate of those 1,200 heads? Keep them on the payroll ad infinitum rather than retrench them due to the so-called laws? Absorb them into the main company? Surely whatever their fate then could well be applied at present.

Equally, were F1 to fold as a sport – and it currently faces the gravest crisis in its 70-year history, for this time the control factors are well outside its influence – what then? Keep a thousand idle employees on the payroll? The answer is pretty clear.

Where once it could be said what was good for ‘Ferrari First’ was good for F1 and vice-versa, the changed global order means that is certainly no longer the case. The fact is that Covid-19 has changed F1 beyond all recognition, and the sport is adapting accordingly – save for Ferrari, which is trotting out the same lines of what it cannot do, rather than being part of the solution.

Possibly shareholders should realise that lower costs equate to greater profits – all things being equal. Possibly that is Ferrari’s biggest fear: Equality in sport…

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 27 comments on “The ‘Ferrari first’ obstacle to F1’s urgent drive to slash costs”

    1. Mafia continues to poison the sport with its own greed.

      1. You should pay attention on what you write.
        Some Italian may read your insensitive comment and bring you before a court of law.

    2. Just allow Ferrari to Overspend, its not like they will all of a sudden make the most of their advantage ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. A thought that came to me too @mrboerns, but, that’s currently only with respect to Mercedes and Red Bull – though we don’t know how well that RP car would go, indications are those teams are still 0,5-1,5 seconds faster per lap than the rest of the field, so if every one else is pegged down, Ferrari would have little competition apart from themselves.

    3. Never felt comfortable with a competitor exerting such influence and strength over the sport in which they compete so much so that the threat of them leaving is enough to get them what they want even if it undermines the others. People talk as though if they left it would damage F1 considerably but to be honest I don’t think so – other teams will take their place, in presumably a fairer competition where one team isn’t ensuring its own survival and successes at the expense and survival of the others. It would be sad to see such a legend leave but if their survival comes at the cost of sacrificing others because they refuse to play fair or reduce costs, then I’d rather they did leave.

      1. hear hear

    4. @rocketpanda I fully agree, its not a healthy relationship between F and the championship at the moment..I think F need the sport more than the sport need F.

      Of course there will be job cuts, the whole points of the budget cap is to reduce the amount of spending=people in the teams, because its grown out of proportion.

    5. As an aside, with regards to the comments about the Ferrari 637, are you entirely sure that it really was “never intended to be raced” and was only intended to be a blackmail threat? The problem is that, according to those who were involved in the project from the US side, such as Bobby Rahal, the timeline doesn’t work if it was supposed to be a blackmail threat.

      Development of the 637 is known to have started in mid-1985, but the first draft of the regulations for 1989, which is meant to have had the limit on the maximum number of cylinders as eight, wasn’t issued by the FIA until 1986. It might have later been used as a blackmail threat, but the timeline means it can’t have been built as a blackmail threat to that rule because the car was already in production before those rules were proposed, not afterwards. http://8w.forix.com/ferrari-indianapolis-1986.html

      1. Anon: I’ll stress what I’ve said before – I have no intention of getting down by irrelevant minutiae, but for the record I’ll answer your primary question: Am I entirely sure that 637 was only intended as a blackmail threat? My answer is: Yes, our I would not have written it. But there is a caveat, namely that I’m sure Enzo would have carried out his threat had push come to shove. So, the best of intentions can change. But that is irrelevant at this point.

        Re the timeline, I’m sure you realise that regulations are not drawn up and published in a day, and I’m equally sure that you realise that Ferrari would have been in on the ground floor of any such discussions.

        There is an awful misinformation about all sorts of F1 topics, but fact is that I have sources who were involved with that project, and coincidentally I spoke to one of them last week whilst discussing another topic and 637 was again mentioned. I would rather believe them than a website article that questions a few of its own sources.

        1. @dieterrencken you may dismiss it as “irrelevant minutiae”, but in your article you draw upon examples of this sort to build up a wider picture of Ferrari as an organisation of Machiavellian deviousness, with many smaller pieces being put together to create the overall impression of the team.

          If one wishes to look back on episodes such as this with the viewpoint that they were part of a grand scheme with a particular intent at the end, then I am sure that there will be those whose memories would be skewed to that direction and will be willing to retrospectively interpret such an event in that way.

          Memories can be extraordinarily flexible things that can shift and bend, with people including information that cannot have been available to them at the time, or reinterpreted as people shift them to coalesce around a later strong narrative – just witness Alfred Neubauer’s famous co-option of the myths around the “Silver Arrows” as he himself came to believe the stories that were being told about scraping the paint off the cars and gave himself false memories of events that never happened.

          Not everything, though, has to be a devious plan to secure a particular end – much as there may be the image in F1 of scheming figures with genius masterplans, I am willing to bet that there are many more instances of botched plans and misdirected ideas that then have figures trying to make the best of a bad situation than people are necessarily prepared to admit to.

          Whilst I do agree with the broader thrust of the article, namely that Liberty Media should take a more combative approach towards Ferrari, at the same time I feel that not every single instance that you cite is necessarily the evidence of Ferrari being a duplicitous and scheming organisation in the way that the common tropes around them paints them as, or that everything has to be interpreted in that more negative light.

    6. This article raises a lot of questions to me?
      First of all the premise, because as far as I have understood Ferrari is a racing team that sells cars so they can fund the racing, companies like Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini, Ford, are car companies that go racing to sell cars.

      Ferrari only produces 10.000 units because if they produce more they are no longer consider a small manufacturer, and they will have to uphold to different EU laws and regulations.

      Since when is Porsche no longer the most profitable car company in the world? It still was last year and for the past decade or 2 their profitability per car was a ten fold of BMW.

      F1 would soon lose its appeal to Ferrari were the team to drop down the order, as could well be the case with a level playing field.

      Why? You just argued its intertwined, the “free” marketing from F1 is second to none,

      Why should Ferrari agree to slash their budget by 90% giving away their competitive advantage on a silver plater? It isn’t sensible choice for either a race team or a car company.

      True again, but one cannot expect a global sport to bend to the will of individual business models.

      How is bending to the will of the smaller teams any different?

      Equally, were F1 to fold as a sport – and it currently faces the gravest crisis in its 70-year history, for this time the control factors are well outside its influence – what then? Keep a thousand idle employees on the payroll? The answer is pretty clear.

      Is it really going to fold? Is Liberty media really willing to see a multi billion investment as a sunk cost?
      Will rich people stop existing? Will their drive to race cars disappear?
      Even if worst comes to worst there would be a minimum of 4 teams (possibly 6) left in the sport, nd plenty of rich people that want to sink capital into a racing team that just went bust.

      Possibly that is Ferrari’s biggest fear: Equality in sport…

      Equality in sport doesn’t exist, sports is all about discriminating: who is better, faster, stronger, harder work, most ambition ?

      Equality in F1 would mean everyone would get a participation prize at the end of the parade.

      1. William Jones
        22nd April 2020, 14:07

        Equality in sport doesn’t mean what you think. Take any sport, say high diving. A single diving board is used, and against this foil of fairness, each competitor is distinguished only on their own ability, which is what the sport wishes to compete by.

        The idea that a rubbish high diver could win because he has access to a better diving board is not entertained because the sport is not a competition as to who can build the best diving board, it’s a competition only of personal ability. So in high diving, the sport is considered fair because the thing we want the sport to be about is what the sport is about. Yes, some divers get far superior training, yes, some get a lot more money and don’t have to work, accelerating their results against someone who has to remain in work, but what’s happening there is the means to which ability is created is being changed, but the competition is still only about ability.

        In F1, we have a new formula each year. The sport is about the best driver – car combination, and while individual drivers are allowed to train any way they wish with few limitations, the car side of things has been heavily restricted. In this way, the sport is trying to keep a balance between the best car and the best driver having impact. Obviously the car makes a disproportionate difference. Bottas in a Williams is different to Bottas in a Mercedes. Riccardo in a Renault is different to Riccardo in a Red Bull. The driver has a smaller impact. It is however, deeply unpopular when a less talented driver beats a more talented driver by virtue of only the car. So the sport tries to keep the balance because that’s what people want to see. That’s what makes the sport more popular that the racing with no design restrictions. People want to see a competition in design, but also in drivers.

        So what does this all mean for equality. It means we give each team equal resources. With these resources, they must design a car and employ and train two drivers. Some teams will do better, some teams will do worse. Some teams will win, some teams will not. There are no participation prizes in what’s being proposed – not unless you are irrationally upset by the idea that some people support teams who are objectively not the best, and consider that support a prize.

        1. William Jones
          22nd April 2020, 14:13

          I should also have said – in an ideal world, the people would prefer all the teams to get the same resources as the best funded team. But this isn’t possible. And restricting them all to the same resources as the worst funded team would be too much of a compromise for the sport. So remaining in the real world, we want to see the part of the sport which is a competition to design the best car be fair – where a less talented design team can’t just buy their way to the top against a better design team who know how to build a faster car, but can’t because the money just isn’t there. That’s what the spending cap is supposed to be an answer too.

        2. Great post.

          We might also notice that:

          Ferrari wields more power over F1 than do either the governing body or commercial rights holder Liberty

          And yet despite these numerous advantages and extra cash, they don’t win that often…

          Perhaps Ferrari let others win? Or maybe without their special advantages (let’s not call it cheating), they’d come plumb last every time. In either case, if they had any honour they’d want to compete on the same terms as any other team.

        3. Just wanted to applaud a well written comment!

    7. I think there are two issues at play here.

      The first is about a team, no matter how historically important, having vetos or other undue influence over decisions on what is best for the sport. Ferrari are very unlikely to walk away from F1 as long as the sport itself remains healthy, so they’ve likely been “getting away with” having the veto and other perks when they would still continue in the sport even if they were removed. F1 should use this opportunity of a reset to tell Ferrari team vetos are over.

      The second is the issue of helping teams through the global economic lockdown. This needs to be looked at in discrete parts:

      1.) Teams in financial peril during the F1 shutdown period itself (2020)
      2.) Teams in financial peril during the period F1 gets back on its feet (2021 and R&D for 2022)
      3.) Any longer-term implications of the economic slowdown on F1 (which no one can predict right now)

      The cost cap measures being talked about now should only apply to #2, given that #3 is an unknown and #1 would need other forms of assistance (e.g. loans, bail outs, takeovers). Therefore it should only be a temporary measure lasting a season or two at most, building on the development freeze already agreed for 2021. Saying that spend in 2021 (including investment into the 2022 season) should be less than the agreed cost cap for that season seems reasonable. But I don’t think they shouldn’t change the agreed cost cap rule, they should put in a separate “emergency” rule for the impacted seasons that specify reduced costs to help F1 get back to normality (where no team gets a vote). Then evaluate at regular intervals to see whether the special rules can be lifted early or need to be extended.

      F1’s health is what matters in this context. Measures are only needed to get back to a state considered healthy, not to govern the long-term future of the sport based on a single event.

    8. Congratulations Dieter, for the eloquently bias rant. I don’t think this is one to be proud of. Borderline discriminatory, petty and judgemental. I understand you wrote an opinion article but some arguments are not valid and other unfounded. I could write a testament if you will detailing why I’m stating this.
      To make this clear I do not doubt that every bit of information you included is trustworthy. I don’t pitty Ferrari but I’m not a jealous man either.

    9. I’m probably in the wrong place to defend Ferrari, but it’s simple. Ferrari wields more power because Ferrari matters. Every team, the FIA and Liberty knows this. If Ferrari would go away, so would 75% of the fans and most of the money. Liberty would actually be better off telling all of the other teams to go away. Without Ferrari, you’ve got a bad version of Indycar.

      1. @Gabe At the moment, there are so few teams that the FIA and Liberty cannot afford to turn away a single one. This is a key part of the problem for the non-team powers-that-be right now…

    10. Pretty long-winded article, but at the end it does arrive at a very good point: Ferrari has always gotten its way by holding its breath, but F1 is in such grave danger at the moment that it is able to make a more credible threat than Ferrari right now. That means this crisis might present a unique opportunity to take away some of Ferrari’s privileges. Let’s hope Liberty knows how to use it.

    11. There is, of course, another flaw in this logic: were Ferrari to exit F1 as it so oft threatened, what would be the fate of those 1,200 heads? Keep them on the payroll ad infinitum rather than retrench them due to the so-called laws? Absorb them into the main company? Surely whatever their fate then could well be applied at present.

      A key statement here. Ferrari are just like any other corporate entity. They will do whatever they can to ensure the survival of the corporation and its key shareholders. The employees, no matter how much they are “valued” *wink wink* are only pawns in their games.

      Thanks for a great analytical piece. I enjoyed reading it.

    12. Hmmm… I really, really want to agree with this article. I believe each and every factual element of what is there. There have been several occasions where I have felt Ferrari’s use of veto to have been… …unwise, at best (for the sport, and at least occasionally, for itself). However, I can’t shake what happened in 2009.

      As Dieter correctly points out, Ferrari got the veto power after an early 1980s exit threat. The first time since then that the FIA felt it could act without regard to the veto was when it was trying to shoot down the GPMA in early 2009 and realised it needed a credible backup threat to communicate that it didn’t need the GPMA teams (including, and led by, Ferrari – but also including the other manufacturers in F1 at that time). That meant replacement teams were needed… …but they couldn’t get in if the costs remained as they were. So the FIA proposed a cost cap, designed to entice new teams into F1.

      The trouble was that the amount was comically low (initially $20 m, then $40 m) and even the non-GPMA teams weren’t going to be able to race on that budget. Assuming the new teams could even meet that themselves – and it seems unlikely in retrospect – there was no chance of them being in the 107% boundary, rendering their presence pointless if even one current F1 team managed to get there (because the established team’s enforced breach of the cap couldn’t possibly be detected until the DSQs sent the new teams to the wall). F1 faced a real prospect of ceasing to exist at the end of 2010. Most of the problems F1 now faces can be traced back to what had to be done to ensure that there was still a F1 despite the FIA’s folly.

      I want to believe the FIA is competent enough to govern without needing that ultimate sanction of singular executive veto. However, the record the FIA has is such that if Ferrari did not have the veto, a different team would need to carry it – simply because the veto-related messes turn out to be easier to clean up than those that result from a veto-free landscape. While I can think of other teams that could carry the veto equally well, could any of them carry it better – and would any of them have a stronger track record of resisting the FIA when necessary?

      If push came to shove, Ferrari could have the employees sit around for a few months while it figured out what to do with them (assign them to other projects, help set up a new racing series, simply stagger the redundancies to avoid mass reporting rules that exist in Italy at lower thresholds than in the UK… …delete/augment as appropriate). F1 can’t do that – it talks about being able to drop to 18 cars, but the cold feet that engenders would leave F1 even more exposed at a time when it’s already under severe threat. Ferrari needs F1 a lot, but F1 still, somehow, manages to need Ferrari more. The one protection the other powers-that-be in F1 have right now is that F1 needs Haas and Williams almost as much as Ferrari…

      1. Solid, well argued post @alianora-la-canta – I do very much see your point wrt. 2009, though I also think the current FIA (hopefully) might be slightly wiser. And I suppose we will see some of what balance of power is between FIA/FOM and Ferrari, as they have just issued another quitting threat related to a low budget cap.

    13. I hate and love Ferrari. Would I cry if Ferrari leaves F1? nope teams leave all the time. Some of my favorite teams have left. It’s the nature of the game. Don’t think they will find a series that they can pull this stuff. Also I’m getting tired of Red Bull threatening to leave. If you are going to go then go and shut up.

    14. Ferrari should walk away… call it a trial separation if you must. F1 is a hollow shell of its former self and both F1 and Ferrari need to figure how to move forward free of the current comprimised entanglements.

    15. Good read!

      I don’t want Ferrari to leave F1, but that is simply because F1 is more interesting to me with more cars on the grid. I couldn’t care less about if two of them are painted red or not. Ferrari need F1 way more than F1 need Ferrari. Ferrari knows that but would never admit it if asked directly, yet they apparently do say so themselves in their own written reports. I just hope that F1 would realize it too, I think it could lead to good things in the long run and maybe now is the perfect time to act on it.

    16. Its an interesting question – who needs whom more?

      Given that the last time they were “apparently” serious about leaving they were given the veto, one could suggest that at the very least Bernie though that Ferrari was critical to F1 and it’s future.

      About the only thing I can conclude is that Ferrari, by their own admission need F1 just as much as it seems that it is pretty much its entire marketing strategy and I doubt that it really has a plan B at the moment. However, given that there is now a pause, and potentially a big one, in proceedings, Ferrari, and every other team, now have the benefit of time to critically assess their participation in F1.

      I’m just as certain that F1 realise this too and have to be preparing all sorts of contingency plans for a future with a number of teams dropping out, either because they’ve chosen to, or because they have not been able to survive financially. At least one of those contingency plans would have to be “how do we keep Ferrari” as without them, I suspect that their share price may cop even more of a hammering.

      Hang on to your seats people ….

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